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New Media Futures: The Rise of Women in the Digital Arts captures the spirit of women working in digital media arts and education in the Midwest. These pioneers made essential contributions to the international technological revolution, helping to catalyze what we now think of as the age of digital and social media.

Our Herstory Screening Room features works that emerged from seminal events that took place at the University of Illinois and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in the 1980s-2000s, in a fertile environment combining social feminist change, artistic energy, and technological innovation. While women artists in Chicago, marginalized in traditional venues, built a network of independent galleries and exhibit spaces to house and highlight their work, interdisciplinary Renaissance Teams at the University of Illinois developed advanced academic computing communities that created a bridge to the humanities and forged new partnerships between the artist and the scientific environment. Behind this revolution lay a history of social change, artistic innovation, women’s civic leadership, and breakthroughs in science and technology.

Please enjoy a curated video art selection of featured works that were included in New Media Futures:

Sally Rosenthal : Maria, 1983

"The principles they taught us, which I still use every day, were being an active part of one’s community, the synergy between art and science, and that process is the essence of creativity. You could do pretty much anything you wanted to do in this environment. It was not a structured program in the sense of teaching anything at all. It was a learning envi- ronment in which we could swim in an ocean of customized tools and support.

I finally felt literate in this world I so wanted to be part of. The first piece I remember creat- ing was made on the Bally Arcade. It was simply black boxes moving on the screen. They had a little bit of motion and they made people laugh. It was about two minutes long and I think it is the best thing I’ve ever done. It had a naïve charm. I think about that piece when I get stuck. I think, “You’re all hung up because you know too much. Pretend you don’t know anything and maybe you can get unstuck.” It works."

Featured in 'New Media Futures: The Rise of Women in the Digital Arts'.

Courtesy of Sally Rosenthal and the Electronic Visualization Laboratory, University of Illinois at Chicago.

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